Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CNorte VG Pimentel, SP, junk mining exploration in Labo

The Venida Pit in Napaod, Labo, Camarines Norte triggered the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to recommend the prohibition of mining exploration in the town. (PHOTO: LITO S. DE LEON/ BICOL STANDARD)


DAET, Camarines Norte 5/17/17 (Bicol Standard) — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Norte has passed a resolution calling for the prohibition of mining in the town of Labo by the joint venture of Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation (hereinafter “Mt. Labo”) and Galeo Equipment Corporation (hereinafter “Galeo”).

Said prohibition covers the mining exploration, but excludes community development and environmental protection and other mitigation activities.

Vice Gov. Jonah G. Pimentel said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan had reached the said decision after proper consultation with the barangay officials of Napaod, Labo and the municipal officials of the said town.

Concern over safety


Pimentel noted that the residents were concerned over their safety with the presence of the Napaod Open Mined Pit, also known as the Venida Pit, at Barangay Napaod, Labo town.

The open mined pit occupies two hectares wide, and in some areas could reach up to 30 meters deep.
“Pag tumataas ang tubig sa balon, lumalambot ang lupa at malamang magkaroon ng mga pagtibag ng lupa sa balon, lalo na’t papalapit na naman ang tag-ulan” (When the water rises in the pit, the soil becomes soft. Soil erosion may occur, especially since the rainy season is approaching) said Barangay Kagawad Amelita Villareal Baning of Barangay Napaod.

Baning added, “baka po may mga bata na maglaro malapit sa balon, baka mahulog sa balon,” (Kids may play near the open pit and may fall into the same).

Revocation


The Sangguniang Panlalawigan admitted that previous to this, it had approved Resolution No. 123-2016 which endorsed the joint venture project of Mt. Labo and Galeo.
The same resolution, however, was revoked, because of the legal controversy that arose between the two parties, which may compromise the rehabilitation to which the joint venture earlier committed.

Response


In response to these developments, Galeo wrote a letter to the Sangguniang Bayan of Labo, saying that they had “accomplished the initial steps to fulfill the mandate of [the] municipal resolution” which required them to conduct environmental mitigation and community safety measures at the open pit area.

Galeo said they had already submitted the proposed work plan for the mitigating activities, as well as presented and discussed the proposed work plan in the regular session of the Sangguniang Bayan.
An ocular inspection of the Venida Pit was conducted on May 9, 2017, according to the same letter.
Subsequently, on Mass Motion, the Sangguniang Bayan of Labo approved on May 16, 2017 the Geo-environmental assessment and the proposed mitigating measures for said open pit mined area submitted and presented by Galeo.

The Sangguniang Bayan further ordered Galeo to immediately implement the same.
Meantime, Mt. Labo sent a letter to Pimentel on April 20, 2017, saying that it “shares the SP’s concern with regard to the mitigation measures on Venida Pit, its surrounding premises, as well as the areas that may be affected.”

“Towards that end, Mt. Labo has confirmed in its letter to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region V dated 04 April 2017 that Mt. Labo is committed to assisting the rehabilitation of the affected areas even if the operations which caused the environmental disturbance were not conducted by Mt. Labo,” it added in the same letter.
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